Yamaha YCL-255 Bb Clarinet Review: The New Standard For Students

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This Yamaha YCL 255 Bb clarinet is beautiful. When you are ready to move up to a higher grade student clarinet, all the usual characters like Buffet Crampon are expected to be exceptional options, but this Yamaha clarinet for beginners set a new standard and went beyond expectations, proving itself as a top beginner to intermediate student clarinet. The YCL 255 is a fantastic choice as your skills expand helping you achieve great results.


Yamaha YCL-255 Bb Clarinet is a Step-Up

Many students start playing in a school band around 3rd through 5th grade. Wisely, most parents opt to buy an affordable clarinet or rent a student model. Some will rent the clarinet for a year before buying an instrument. As the musician’s skills grow so to their instrument needs to grow with them. There comes a time when NOT upgrading to more advanced higher quality instrument will actually hold a budding clarinetist back.

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Benefits of an upgraded clarinet:

  • A more pleasant, clearer tone
  • Much more powerful resonance 
  • A fuller and larger sound
  • Improved control and dynamic expression
  • Faster response time

What Brand of clarinet is Best for a Student?

I would always start with a company that has higher levels of instruments. If your first purchase of a “student” or “standard” level clarinet is from a reputable company like Conn-Selmer, Buffet Crampon or Yamaha they should last a clarinetist at least to highschool and perhaps through highschool. The deal is that all of these clarinet companies want you to fall in love with their instrument, because when you are ready to move up to the next level of Clarinet you will more likely pick their “professional” grade clarinets.

Are Yamaha Clarinets Good?

Yamaha has a long history of making high-quality orchestral and band instruments.  Yamaha prides itself in making instruments for beginners to professional player levels. Their top models are handmade to the more accessible and sturdy student models that are mass produced for thousands around the world. 

  • Reliable
  • Well made 
  • Long Lasting

Newly Redesigned Yamaha YCL 255 Bb Student Clarinet

The recently redesigned YCL-255 Clarinet has a beautiful ABS resin matte body, an adjustable thumb-rest with strap ring, nickel-plated silver keys, and a 65mm barrel. It comes with the CL-4C mouthpiece which is great for students. This YCL-255 clarinet matches the industry’s highest standards in production with the expertise and features of Yamaha professional level clarinets. The outcome is a superb entry-level clarinet that produces a resonant warm tone that is surprisingly akin to a wood clarinet. Its ABS resin body with its attractive matte finish imitates the appearance of wood clarinets. For me the  adjustable thumb-rest, and thoughtful neck strap ring confirmed that Yamaha was thinking about making a top notch instrument accessible for those with smaller hands.

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A Good Choice for Beginners?

A starter clarinet, rented from the school or music store, can actually hold budding clarinetist back. One of our testers, who is a beginner level player, commented that she was “greatly impressed” and her roommate noticed after just a few days practicing with the Yamaha YCL-255 Clarinet, how improved she sounded. Though it costs a bit more than off brand clarinets it is very affordable for the quality of instrument. It is relatively sturdy, and  even in the hands of a beginner it is capable of making a good sound. 

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Features and Benefits of the YCL-255

The features of the Yamaha YCL-255 are impressive to even advanced clarinetist. This “student” model will give the student a taste of what is possible in the production and tone they are working for. Some of the features and benefits are discussed below.

Valentino Pads

Yamaha YCL255 Clarinet pads

The YCL-255 features the very durable Valentino pads.  These are perfect for students because they are more immune to temperature changes and relatively easy to repair. Many of our experts consider Valentino pads to be some of the best pads you can get. Yamaha’s inclusion of these pads means the clarinet should have a tight seal on the keys not only when just purchased but for years to come.

New Strap Ring and Adjustable Thumb-Rest

The ergonomic addition of an adjustable thumb-rest helps clarinetist of all sizes and ages to develop proper playing technique. The well-done strap ring allows for the clarinet to be secured alleviating the fear of dropping (and the repair cost). This strap ring by Yamaha helps the clarinetist avoid unwanted  thumb and hand tension, which easily leads to pain and discomfort, and can have a negative impact on student’s fingering technique.Solidified screws and the silver soldered ring combine to give the strap ring excellent durability.

Yamaha’s Re-designed Bell

Yamaha YCL255 Clarinet Bell

This newly re-designed bell is one of the small things that has a huge impact on the clarinet and the clarinetist. This new bell is made of solid ABS resin that results in a lighter and more responsive, yet more durable instrument. The redesigned flare and taper of the bell’s  resonance chamber sound great and aids in the improved project, intonation, and playing in tune, especially for lower notes.

This lighter-weight Yamaha bell also makes the whole clarinet easier to hold at the “ideal” tilt away from one’s body, as opposed to the “almost-straight-down” angle that plagues many  beginners. This has a positive effect on the clarinetist’s posture, embouchure, comfort and breathing!

Designing and Finishing

The YCL-255 has a unique design featuring a 65mm barrel, based on high-end Yamaha clarinet designs, that gives this student clarinet a focused tone. It’s beautiful matte finish makes this clarinet a work of art. Beyond just beautiy, the matte finish provides added durability to the ABS resin body. 

Additional outstanding features found on this amazing clarinet include stainless steel springs, a nickel-plated ligature, straight tone holes with some tapered undercut, and threaded posts.

What People Say About the Yamaha-255

User reviews

The Yamaha YCL-255: A New Standard For Students

The Yamaha YCL-255 is an outstanding student to intermediate level, and one of the top clarinets available today. This is Yamaha’s entry-level clarinet, and is a masterful combination of state-of-art production and artistic expertise. This “entry level” student clarinet also includes high-end Yamaha features. This outstanding clarinet gives a warm resonant tone very much like a wood clarinet. 

As the successor to the Yamaha YCL-250 student clarinet, the improvements made make the YCL-255 a much more accessible and ergonomic instrument for students. If a clarinetist can  hold the instrument comfortably and sit with good posture for a 30-minute practice session or lesson, or a 60-minute band class, enjoyment and improvements will come rapidly!

The bottom line: if you are shopping around for a quality beginner clarinet, this Yamaha YCL-255 deserves to be at the top of your list!

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  • Level: Standard
  • Key of: Bb
  • Fingering: Boehm
  • Key System: 17 keys, 6 rings
  • Barrel Length: 65mm
  • Body Material: Matte ABS Resin
  • Barrel Material: Matte ABS Resin
  • Bell Material: Matte ABS Resin
  • Key Material: Nickel Silver
  • Plating: Nickel
  • Bore: Molded
  • Tone Holes: Straight tone holes with tapered undercut
  • Thumb Rest: Adjustable with strap ring
  • Mouthpiece: Yamaha 4C
  • Mouthpiece: Cap Plastic
  • Ligature: Nickel-plated
  • Pad Type: Valentino
  • Spring Type: Stainless Steel
  • Posts: Threaded

Other Pages You Should See

Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet


Matte ABS resin body


Nickel-plated silver keys


Silver soldered ring


Valentino pads


Durable case



  • Durable and Strong
  • Aesthetic Lightweight Body
  • Redesigned Resonance Chamber
  • High Quality Design
  • Easy For Students


  • Difficult For Very Young To Play
  • On The Expensive Side

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